Challenges in using mobile phones for collection of antiretroviral therapy adherence data in a resource-limited setting

AIDS Behav. 2010 Dec;14(6):1294-301. doi: 10.1007/s10461-010-9720-1.


Frequent antiretroviral therapy adherence monitoring could detect incomplete adherence before viral rebound develops and thus potentially prevent treatment failure. Mobile phone technologies make frequent, brief adherence interviews possible in resource-limited settings; however, feasibility and acceptability are unknown. Interactive voice response (IVR) and short message service (SMS) text messaging were used to collect adherence data from 19 caregivers of HIV-infected children in Uganda. IVR calls or SMS quantifying missed doses were sent in the local language once weekly for 3-4 weeks. Qualitative interviews were conducted to assess participant impressions of the technologies. Participant interest and participation rates were high; however, weekly completion rates for adherence queries were low (0-33%), most commonly due to misunderstanding of personal identification numbers. Despite near ubiquity of mobile phone technology in resource-limited settings, individual level collection of healthcare data presents challenges. Further research is needed for effective training and incentive methods.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Caregivers
  • Cell Phone*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qualitative Research
  • Reminder Systems
  • Uganda